is a small town in the southern Italian region of Molise
, part of the province of Campobasso
. The population is about 1,800 inhabitants.
It has a rich, agrarian-based culture and history, dating back to at least the 12th century. Nearby towns include Campobasso to the northwest and Vinchiaturo to the southwest. The Tappino River flows on either side of the town on the north and south.
Numerous bloody battles were fought over water rights for the land between Mirabello Sannitico and Ferrazzano. Many earthquakes have historically plagued the area. This region suffered large earthquakes in 847, 1294, 1309. Other temblors struck in 1456, 1587, 1688 and 1794. On July 26
a quake struck the area that killed nearly 6,000 people and turned a previously damaged church, San Nicola
, to rubble.
The town is laid out in a classic medieval fashion, with a radial array of streets surrounding the church, Santa Maria Assunta in Cielo
. Stone town walls and huge arches are readily appreciated. The principal street, so named as in all Italian towns, via Roma
, in accord with a 1930s decree by Mussolini changed from via San Nicola
leads from the main piazza abutted by the main church and leads out of town. The relics of this history remains with a statuary of Saint Nicholas in the wall at the end of via Roma
named San Nicola II
. At the end of via Roma lies an ancient well, where the cap stones have numerous deeply carved vertical grooves due to centuries of hauling water with buckets and ropes.
The townspeople observe many feast days, celebrating in traditional style with parades, religious processions, and fireworks. The most elaborate celebration is for the feast of Saint George
, the patron saint of the town. It is celebrated on 23 April. Others include the feast of Saint Joseph (19 March), Saint Anthony (June 13), Ferragosto
(15 August), and Epiphany
(early January) as well as Christmas and Easter. Many inhabitants still make their own wine; preserve tomatoes; make olive oil, and slaughter a pig shortly after Christmas (ritualistically imitating centuries of forebears who did the same to provide meat throughout the coming year).
Emigrants from this town are scattered throughout the world. From about 1880 to 1925 many settled in New York, Philadelphia and Cleveland. After World War II emigration to Canada, Switzerland, and South America was more common. The most common names in this town include D'Alessio, Baranello, Caruso, Centritto, Di Biase, Fierro, Di Giglio, Di Lella, Di Camillo, Iademarco and Fantacone. Based on an unpublished ethnographic study, several surnames are highly distinctive to this town; such that if encountered anywhere in the world, could likely be traced back to Mirabello: Centritto, Fantacone, Iademarco, Iafigliola, Margiasso, Spicciati, Sulmona, and Volpacchio. Other names have historic origins in the town but are extinct in the town today: Di Giovanni and Perrotta. Of the surnames not mentioned, other common names include: Damiano, D'Imperio, DiSisto, Di Vico, Fierro, Gugliemi, Anetti, Lazzaro, Lembo, Piacente, Marino, Rocco, Tucci, Spina, Stanziani, Verdone, Zappone, and Zingaro; but are relatively common in other places in Italy.